Amidst a battle between the President of the United States and the Intelligence Community that has sparked formal impeachment proceedings against the president by Democrats in Congress, federal law enforcement officials have formally charged one intelligence community official with leaking highly classified information to the media.
This comes in the wake of a top-ranking congressional intelligence committee staffer facing similar charges of leaking last year and sets the stage for a larger fight between Trump and intelligence community leakers.
The nature of these intelligence community leakers’ deeply personal relationships with the reporters to whom they were leaking — both cases involved romantic relationships — seems more like a House of Cards episode than real life.
But the federal law enforcement charges against each casts the intelligence community as a whole in a deeply negative light, as Democrats on Capitol Hill begin to rely on these spooks for their increasingly partisan impeachment efforts against Trump.
The case of the leaker ensnared on Wednesday showed how anti-Trump intelligence officials are using their relationships with the media to risk their careers to leak classified information embarrassing to the Trump administration.
Henry Kyle Frese, an employee with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was charged with two counts of leaking classified information to two journalists identified by journalist Matthew Keys and later the Wall Street Journal as CNBC’s Amanda Macias and NBC News’s Courtney Kube. Frese and Macias were romantically involved.
The complaint against Frese said, in or about mid-April to May 2018, he accessed an intelligence report unrelated to his job duties “on multiple occasions.” A week after he accessed the report a second time, “Journalist 1” — believed to be Macias, asked him to speak to “Journalist 2” — believed to be Kube. Frese told Journalist 1 he was “down” to help Journalist 2 if it helped her because he wanted to see her “progress.”
Frese would later search on a classified U.S. government computer system for terms related to the topics contained in the intelligence report. A few hours after searching those terms, he spoke with Journalist 1 for seven minutes, and spoke to Journalist 2 for over half an hour. About half an hour after he spoke with both journalists, Journalist 1 published an article through her outlet, which contained classified information from the report. After Journalist 1 tweeted the article, Frese retweeted it. read more